Anime, per Lifewire, is a popular style of 2D animation that originated in Japan. Anime has gained a massive following over the past two decades, and with the internet becoming the number one source of content consumption, anime has become available to places outside of Japan, bringing it into the Western world. This has led to a surge in anime fans finding their fellow otakus living out their fantasies in real-life, cosplaying as their favorite characters from their favorite anime.
What many people don’t realize is that most truly great anime are based on popular Manga series. Manga is a type of graphic novel with the same style of animation used in anime. The contents of Manga vary greatly. From heavy realistic melodramas like nanato fantastical stories that revolve around wizards like Fairy Tail, Manga is the basis of many of the great anime that we know and love today. These are the top 7 anime based on Manga, ranked.
7 Death Note
One of the most popular anime on the market is Death Note. Based on the Manga by Tsugumi Ohba, Death Note tells the story of Light Yagami, young genius and maniacal sociopath who stumbles upon a notebook with the words “Death Note” inscribed on the cover. This notebook grants the user the ability to kill anyone whose name is written in the book. It previously belonged to Shinigami Ryuk, who acts as a teacher to Light. Light’s sociopathic tendencies arise as he decides whom to kill off, deeming them immoral. The only hope for police to put Light’s exploits to an end is a young detective named L. Death Note‘s popularity led to a live-action remake on Netflix, which many fans of the show have deemed so terrible that it never should have happened. Recently, Netflix announced another series adaptation, this time with Stranger Things creators The Duffer Brothers.
6 Hunter X Hunter
One of the most highly revered anime on the market is Hunter X Hunter, yet another anime that is based on a Manga. Though the anime had regular release dates while it was airing, the Manga has repeatedly gone on hiatus since 2006. The series revolves around a young boy named Gon who discovers that his estranged father is a Hunter, a professional who specializes in locating rare animal species , discovering treasure, and even hunting down criminals on the loose. With this newly found information, Gon goes on a journey to become a Hunter himself and find his father, meeting a variety of Hunters along the way and experiencing strange encounters that are far from normal. Hunter X Hunter was made into a 62-episode series in 1999 and was later revived in 2011 for a newer version of the anime.
If you’re looking for a good reliable anime that has both perfect humor and tear-jerking drama, then Gintama is the anime for you. This unique anime, based on the Manga Gin Tama, revolves around freelance samurai Gintoki Sakata, who works alongside his newly found friends Shinpachi and Kagura who help him make rent. This hilarious anime is set in an odd version of the Edo period in which Edo has been invaded by aliens known as the Amanto, creating a unique experience for the viewers. The series ran for a total of nine seasons and, during its run, saw great success thanks to the relatable characters and the intriguing plot points.
4 One Punch Man
Yet another classic anime is One Punch Man. The anime series, based on the Manga series of the same name, follows the life of superhero Saitama, who can defeat any enemy with a single punch. Due to this power, and a lack of challenge, Saitama grows bored. Although the series only ran for a total of two seasons, One Punch Man is a must-watch anime for any otaku who enjoys the quirk and realistic aspects of being a superhero too powerful to see a challenge in any of his foes. While the anime is no longer running, the Manga has continued to release new chapters to the story.
3 One Piece
One Piece is yet another fantastic anime with a huge fanbase. Based on the Manga by Eiichiro Oda, One Piece has quite a unique premise revolving around pirates. The anime follows the life of Monkey D. Luffy whose body has become like rubber after accidentally consuming a Devil Fruit. Alongside his pirate crew, the Straw Hat Pirates, Luffy searches for Gol D. Roger, the King of the Pirates treasure that is referred to as ‘One Piece’, the source of the show’s original name. If Luffy were to find the ‘One Piece’, he would subsequently become the next King of Pirates. Both the Manga series and the anime are still running with new episodes being released regularly. Moreover, Netflix is set to produce a live-action adaptation of One Piecethough no release date has been confirmed.
2 Cardcaptor Sakura
A classic anime that helped to popularize the genre altogether is Cardcaptor Sakura. Based on the Manga of the same name, Cardcaptor Sakura follows the life of Sakura Kinomoto, an elementary school student who, after accidentally freeing a set of magic cards, discovers her own magical powers. Sakura must find all the lost cards in order to prevent them from taking over the world. Each individual card has different magical abilities and can only be activated by someone like Sakura who has inherent magic powers within. The Manga was critically well received and praised, leading to the creation of the anime series that ran for a total of 70 episodes.
1 Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is arguably one of the best anime of all time. Based on the Manga by Koyoharu Gotouge. Demon Slayer follows the life of teen Tanjiro Kamado, who trains to become a top-notch demon slayer after his family was slaughtered and his baby sister was turned into a demon. While the Manga wrapped up in 2020, the anime began in 2019 and is still on air, with a total of 44 episodes so far. The Manga and anime were so successful that, in 2019, a sequel film Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train was released in October 2020. Per Den of Geek, the film became the highest grossing anime film and Japanese film of all time, sparking a second season of the anime thanks to the popularity of the anime.